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Old 09-20-2010, 10:02 AM   #46
desert dog
scrub basher
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Location: Port Lincoln
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jeez 'urry up........

bars you do the next RR........ "gawler ranges"

been busy aswell should know more by the end of the week.

ani's going 'stir crazy'.....

cheers matty
Trailer tyres are cheaper than bike tyres
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Old 09-20-2010, 01:01 PM   #47
Drunken Squirrel
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Cool pics and great report! I feel like I'm reading an exclusive national geographic feature.

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Old 09-23-2010, 03:36 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Sundowner

And proof of why I love this countryside.


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Old 09-24-2010, 01:36 AM   #49
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At the Great Wall Of China, I encounter a bit of a technical challenge. My camera memory card is full and even though I've edited out as many photos as I dare, I've got no choice but to remove the card and rely on the camera's tiny built in memory. So apologies for the limited photos remaining, but here goes the run home....

Riding south back to Hawker, I fill up and head for a dirt track out the back of the Yourambulla and Black Jack ranges south of the township.

This track takes me along the Hookina Creek valley and past an old cemetery. Having a love of early history, the cemetery is too tempting to pass without a respectful wander around.

The story behind this grave....

"Hermann Heinrich Vogelsang, better known as Father Vogelsang, was born in Germany on 17 March 1832. This son of a blacksmith arrived in South Australia by the Sophia on 16 August 1866 and within two months was on his way to pioneer the establishment of a Lutheran Mission at Killalpaninna where he remained until his death forty-seven years later.
Together with Johann Ernst Jacob he went through some very hard times but he remained faithful to his calling and stayed at the mission, even though several attempt were made on his life by the Aborigines during the early times. On a later occasion, when he collapsed from dehydration, his life was saved by an Aboriginal woman. Eventually the Aborigines became quite friendly and remained so until the mission closed.
During a short absence from the mission in 1867 Vogelsang married Dorothea Heistermann, born 17 January 1838, who had just arrived from Germany. Naturally she went with her husband back to the mission. Their first son Julius was born at the mission but died at an early age and was buried on the shore of Lake Killalpaninna.
In 1875 Dorothea took ill and Vogelsang took her, and their son Heinrich in one of the German wagons down south for medical aid. After having travelled more than three hundred kilometres her condition deteriorated near Hookina. Vogelsang tied his son to the wagon and hurriedly left for Hookina for help. She died on 8 April 1875 before his return. Heinrich was left with Pastor J.G. Rechner and his wife at Light Pass. When Vogelsang arrived back at Killalpaninna he found his house gone up in flames."

Through to nearby Hookina, a long since crumbled ghost town, now nothing more than scattered rocks around a five way intersection, I turn south and travel through cattle country and past abandoned farmhouses.

Part of a larger cattle station now, this appears to be the ruins of the Hookina Overland Telegraph repeater station.

The building appears quite modern. I'd guess 1900's to 1920's, judging by the style and brickwork. I couldn't find any history to this place, yet.

The two plain steel wires once traversed the great inland and joined Australia with Mother England via Java and the North African and Asian colonies. Truly one of the most amazing periods of exploration and engineering. More info here...

The timber skeleton of an old thatched implement shed. These huge structures helped collect vital drinking water for the early settlers while also providing valuable cool shade. Nearby concrete pads once supported the huge steel tanks, now crumpled further away, victims of howling winter gales. The sturdy trunks of the large gum trees still function as popular itching posts for the new residents. Similar structures are still being built throughout Central Australia, as rest stops and picnic areas for travellers.

I roll south, through numerous gates and past more abandoned farmhouses in this lush green valley surrounded either side by rolling mountains. The track snakes and twists through gently undulating hills. I'm surprised to find a pair of Chestnut Teal ducks sitting near the edge of the track but they fly off quickly and land in a nearby full, small dam. I cross the Willochra Creek and stop to watch the sunset. It's a bit of a non-event, so with rain clouds gathering, I back-track a kilometre and camp on the high edge of the creek, well off the road.

There's tons of firewood laying around. While I'm gathering it, my first vehicle since Hawker rolls past. It's the farmer, headed back to his homestead. He doesn't appear to see my camp. It's an odd place to make camp, so I guess he wouldn't have even thought of looking my way. There's no other traffic all night, so I enjoy a pleasant evening cooking up a tinned stew with rice and doing some star-gazing as the clouds disappear. It's freezing overnight and even with my -10C sleeping bag, the cold wakes me in the early hours to flip the canvas over my head and huddle down more, shivering myself asleep again.

Next morning, the farmer's 4WD sails along the roadway again, once more ignoring or not seeing my camp or the wafting smoke as I boil a cuppa.

The warming sunshine is as welcome as the scenery. It's hard to rush packing up in this countryside.

But I hit the road for home.

One of the reasons it's so cold out here is the abundance of water and the damp air from recent rain. This is a creek that joins the Willochra just a few kilometres from my camp. It always has water in it, even in late summer, due to a spring that feeds water into it up near the bend in line with that hill. Waterholes like this are a sacred place to the local Adnyamuthana and relates to their creation stories. One of these stories can be read here, relating to how the Northern Flinders Ranges was created. Enjoy....

I make a short detour into Warren Gorge, a privately owned section of a local Sheep Station and home to more of the Andu, the Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby.

It's also a public campsite area and the visitors seemed to have scared them off. Shame, but they'll be back around sunset. I won't.

I roll on via some back roads to Quorn, one of my old home towns, to refuel and shop for lunch. Quorn's a town with some great history. For a while it was the rail-head for the Ghan central railroad.

The grass was a welcome place to enjoy a lunch.

It was/is also a major wool producing district, which saw hundreds of shearers spend their wages at the five hotels in the main street.

All the pubs still do good trade from passing tourists. The railway station and pubs also featured in a great Aussie movie, "Sunday Too Far Away." If you've never seen it, I thoroughly recommend you do. Dozens of other movies have been made locally by the South Australia Film Corporation, including "Bitter Springs", "Kangaroo", "Robbery Under Arms", "The Sundowners", "Gallipoli", "The Last Frontier", "The Shiralee" and "The Light Horsemen".
Leaving Quorn, I wanted to take a dirt back road route to Wilmington however sudden, belting rain saw me tootling down the bitumen instead all the way to Melrose. Once here, I hit the gravel to the start of The Bridle 4WD Track. What a great track this was. The sun was out again and the views on the western end of the mountain ridge track were absolutely stunning.

Looking north-west, towards Port Augusta (Quorn is inland 40km east of there, roughly).

And south-west, towards Port Pirie, with the sheltered waters of the Spencer Gulf glistening in the sunlight.

Once down on the plains below, I hugged the foothills as much as possible before eventually reaching Highway 1, the main coastal bitumen road that loops around Oz. After a few kilometres of dodging trucks and stupid car drivers, I find a side road that follows the main SA to WA/NT railway line and then the Inland Beer Pipeline service track. This proves interesting and fairly challenging, as again some sections are underwater or boggy. But it's a great road to finish the trip with.

Eventually, I have to hit the bitumen as the rain begins to fall and darkness descends. With some disappointment, I'm eventually home about 7.30pm, wishing I was still out bush. Again, soon.

Thankyou to all who joined me for this ride. Hope you enjoyed my RR.
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Old 09-24-2010, 02:36 AM   #50
Little Man
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Mate,you have a good eye for a picture!Great work!
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Old 09-24-2010, 03:30 AM   #51
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Thanks Pugsley. It's just a cheap, old second-hand Kodak digital point-and-shoot. I'm actually fairly disappointed with most of the shots. I'd like to get a digital SLR one day so the colours in the landscapes don't get so washed out. Plus my macro flora and fauna shots wouldn't be so average. A lot of the shots I took I couldn't use because they had no depth or the auto-focus stuffed the shot. But it's really hard not to take a good photo when the subject's so amazing. Glad you enjoyed them none the less.
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Old 09-24-2010, 06:10 AM   #52
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Bloody hell sundowner stop it... Im sitting on the 24th floor of a hotel in the middle of the Gold coast looking at these pictures before I go out for a few drinks, got 10 minutes of internet credit left here in the cocktail bar, plenty room here to throw ya tent out, dont think the girls will mind. cant wait to get home and get out on the bike again, only thing up here is posers on Harleys riding round in circles.

Quorn Schnitzel club Founding Member Filthy Stew Schnitzel
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Old 09-24-2010, 07:57 AM   #53
Sundowner OP
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That new tent's wasted on you, Gatey. Catch you for a ride when you get back, ya big tart.
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Old 09-24-2010, 02:51 PM   #54
the hard way
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great journey Sundowner

plenty of great pics and great details of the area

love the food pics!!!!!!!!!!!!

thanks mate
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Old 09-24-2010, 03:06 PM   #55
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That was an excellent read Sundowner, makes me wanna go back, slow down and smell the roses ............... errr Sturt Peas

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Old 09-26-2010, 05:31 AM   #56
Sundowner OP
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G'day Bikerooter, Even though there doesn't seem like much food around in some areas, the arid areas and desert country is actually pretty good for bush tucker. Not as good as the tropics, but you'd never starve if you learn to look around properly. The other guys had me laughing - they said they were going to have a Quondong pie until they learnt what it was....a fruit pie. Poor carnivores , they missed out on the best tucker available out that way, other than those big fresh oysters.

I must admit the Damper photographed better than it ate - I had an old bag of Self Raising Flour at home that needed using and it could've benefitted from a bit more Baking Soda to fluff it up more.

Shopping for the five days away cost less than $17, which was all lunches (bar Day 1's hot chips & gravy, because I knew I had a long afternoon ahead of me to make up for lost ground), all cooked breakfasts and three hot camp-cooked evening meals (didn't bother with a meal on the first night due to the big lunch). Including the value of the rooibos tea, honey, flour and four bananas I brought from home, it worked out at less than $5 a day and I certainly never felt hungry. The lizards were safe this trip.

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Old 09-26-2010, 04:49 PM   #57
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Great report Sundowner, not a pic wasted, all the good stuff
tEAM nONG - Quorn Schnitzel Club

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Old 09-26-2010, 07:30 PM   #58
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yep, top read Sundowner... see you out there one day (one way or another )

i like the idea of doin 5 days on 17 bucks too...

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Old 09-27-2010, 08:06 PM   #59
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Great Ride... Excellent Pics...

Just got back last Friday from the Flinders with another good mate.

Yet to post our ride.. Did just on 2500k.

Got to do it again.

Tks !
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Old 09-27-2010, 11:37 PM   #60
roughing it :)
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well done on the read and photography mate, You’ve outdone your self
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